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Drawn into Violence: Evidence on 'What Makes a Criminal' from the Vietnam Draft Lotteries

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  • Lindo, Jason M.

    ()
    (Texas A&M University)

  • Stoecker, Charles

    ()
    (University of California, Davis)

Abstract

Draft lottery number assignment during the Vietnam era provides a natural experiment to examine the effects of military service on crime. Using exact dates of birth for inmates in state and federal prisons in 1979, 1986, and 1991, we find robust evidence of effects on violent crimes among whites. In particular, we find that draft eligibility increases incarceration rates for violent crimes by 14 to 19 percent. Based on Angrist and Chen's (2008) estimate of the effect of draft eligibility on veteran status, these estimates imply that military service increases the probability of incarceration for a violent crime by 0.27 percentage points. Results for nonwhites are not robust. We conduct two falsification tests, one that applies each of the three binding lotteries to unaffected cohorts and another that considers the effects of lotteries that were not used to draft servicemen.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5172.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Inquiry, 52(1), 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5172

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Keywords: two-sample IV; military; violence; crime; Vietnam War;

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References

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  1. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2012. "I Was Only Nineteen, 45 Years Ago: What Can we Learn from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries?," Economics Working Papers wp12-06, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  2. Sarah E. Turner & John Bound, 2002. "Closing the Gap or Widening the Divide: The Effects of the G.I. Bill and World War II on the Educational Outcomes of Black Americans," NBER Working Papers 9044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2009. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-147, February.
  4. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen & Brigham R. Frandsen, 2010. "Did Vietnam Veterans Get Sicker in the 1990s? The Complicated Effects of Military Service on Self-Reported Health," CEP Discussion Papers dp1041, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Earl L. Grinols & David B. Mustard, 2006. "Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 28-45, February.
  6. Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Amitabh Chandra, 1999. "Taxes and the Timing of Birth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 161-177, February.
  7. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2010. "Alcohol Regulation and Crime," NBER Chapters, in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 291-329 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Dean Yang, 2004. "Can Enforcement Backfire? Crime Displacement in the Context of Customs Reform in the Philippines," Working Papers 520, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  9. Kasey Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers," NBER Working Papers 14573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dalton Conley & Jennifer A. Heerwig, 2009. "The Long-Term Effects of Military Conscription on Mortality: Estimates from the Vietnam-era Draft Lottery," NBER Working Papers 15105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2006. "Ugly Criminals," NBER Working Papers 12019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2007. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001778, David K. Levine.
  13. Card, David & Dahl, Gordon B., 2010. "Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 4869, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto & Vertova, Pietro, 2007. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2013. "The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-65.
  16. Christopher Carpenter, 2007. "Heavy Alcohol Use and Crime: Evidence from Underage Drunk-Driving Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 539-557.
  17. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
  18. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
  19. Mark Duggan & Randi Hjalmarsson & Brian A. Jacob, 2008. "The Effect of Gun Shows on Gun-Related Deaths: Evidence from California and Texas," NBER Working Papers 14371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville & Alexander Paull, 2013. "Does the Military Train Men to be Violent Criminals? New Evidence from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries," Economics Working Papers wp13-01, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
  2. Baldwin, Kate & Bhavnani, Rikhil R., 2013. "Ancillary experiments: Opportunities and challenges," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Naci Mocan & Christian Raschke & Bulent Unel, 2013. "The Impact of Mothers’ Earnings on Health Inputs and Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 19434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Brighita Negrusa & Sebastian Negrusa, 2014. "Home Front: Post-Deployment Mental Health and Divorces," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 895-916, June.
  5. Peter Siminski & Simon Ville, 2012. "I Was Only Nineteen, 45 Years Ago: What Can we Learn from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries?," Economics Working Papers wp12-06, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

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